A sense of fashion

In a time of economic uncertainty, enliven your wardrobe with fresh, funky, inexpensive accessories.

With the global economic crisis still in fullswing, people are on the lookout for ways to save money rather thanspend it. The world of fashion is no exception. One great way to spruceup your wardrobe without going broke this summer is to purchasefabulous, inexpensive accessories.

Eachof Ya'ara Netzer's pieces is one of a kind and uses different materialsto create a harmony between contrasting elements like delicate flowersand leather.

Greataccessories give you the opportunity to frequently change your look,and some of the hottest looks for the summer include mixing andmatching, so it's a great time to dust off your old threads. It's easyto freshen them up with some of this year's trendiest accessories,including long, layered necklaces, large earrings, chunky banglebracelets, floral rings, wide belts, flowered headbands and hair pins.

Aside from bold, bright colors and a plethora of yellow (fromlemon to antique gold), this summer's global trends include triballooks, waist-defining belts, sparkling beads, romantic retro andfusions of classic and contemporary. According to Daria Shualy, astreet fashion expert, former fashion designer and senseofashion.comCEO and cofounder, natural materials like silk and light cotton arehighly fashionable as are summer scarves that can be worn around theneck or tied to your bag.

"I see a lot of delicate, chalk-like colors like light bluesand grays and salmon," she explains. "There's also an interest inmodern interpretations that combine floral designs and vintage withchildhood images from things like Alice in Wonderland. This summer ischaracterized by a kind of dreamlike romance in the independent fashionworld."

THE SENSEOFASHION Web site, launched in April, isstill in beta but Shualy says there are already members from all overthe world and a showcase of designers from Israel, the US, Brazil, theNetherlands, Japan and many other countries. Cofounded with Yariv Habotand Yael Givon, the innovative concept arose from Shualy's desire toprovide an on-line home for independent fashion designers,trendsetters, fans and shoppers.

Otherwise known as "indie fashion," the Web site allows peopleto upload images of their own outfits, get emergency advice from otherusers about what to wear to important events (people can put up severaloptions and ask others to vote on their favorite outfit), sell theirown designs and purchase unique designs from independent creators.

"Ihad two types of mornings: those where I would stand in front of a fullcloset and still feel I had nothing to wear, and those where I wouldput together a great outfit that only my three coworkers would see,"she explains. "This problem led to the idea to create a Web site whereI could put images of my favorite outfits on-line and share them withother fashion lovers. I wanted to create a place where people from allwalks of the fashion world could get together and share their ideas,much like you do in real life when you go shopping with friends."

Oneadvantage of shopping for accessories on-line is that you have accessto original items from all over the world without the travel expense.And young designers usually charge much less than large chains or biglabels. You are also more likely to find something original that youwon't see on every other woman on the street. Shualy points out thatwith accessories, on-line shopping is even easier because there is noneed to try things on for size.

"There is a very distinct Israeli sense of style - at least inTel Aviv - that tends to mix and match big labels that are cool, likeAmerican Apparel and Castro, with vintage and second-hand that makessense together," says Shualy. "Like everything else in this country,trendsetters are forced to find innovative solutions. Despite thedisadvantage of not having a long tradition of haute couture here,people in Tel Aviv are finding unique and unusual ways of dressing.It's not like in Paris where everyone is chic and elegant, but they alllook the same."

This summer, four young Israeli designers whose work differswidely show the wide range of possibilities to choose from when itcomes to finding the hottest new designs for your wardrobe.

Tamar Gartenberg

Three and a half years ago, after finishing her degree at theBezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Gartenberg startedmaking jewelry of her own under the label "Tamara."

"I didn't study jewelry making, I studied art and put togetherinstallations," she says. But one thing did carry over: a tendency tocombine an unusual variety of items in her work. Gartenberg's piecesusually have at least two different materials and often recallnostalgic, romantic inclinations.

"I like big, heavy designs that are romantic without being toodelicate," she says. "I combine textiles from leftover pieces ofdesigner material with metal."

In her eclectic collections, she combines burgundy wool withbrass leaves and brightly-colored beads with fluorescent fabrics.Constantly renewing her designs, Tamar says one of the most importantelements for being a successful jewelry maker is the ability to adaptto new trends in the fickle world of fashion. This summer, hernecklaces, belts, scarves, earrings, headbands, hair pins and braceletsintegrate wooden beads, semiprecious stones, large floral pieces andround seashells.

"I create everything from scratch, even the textiles I use,"she says. "I like asymmetric structures and try to combine this withinteresting materials that suit people who are looking for somethingdifferent."

At the large accessories market in Tel Aviv this year, her topsellers were light summer scarves and unique items for the hair.Strikingly large and original, her designs have a Bohemian appeal.Prices range from NIS 80 to NIS 650 for her one-of-a-kind necklaces.


Adar Mamrud and Einav Price

Inspired by the popularity of plastic accessories and inventiveimitations, plexiglass forms the basis for their Anssi label's firstcollection of pop Judaica. Although they mimic existing jewelrypatterns, the color and material give their necklaces and earrings acool, retro appeal. Right in line with the summer trend for color,Mamrud and Price are using flamboyant materials that challenge thenotions of traditional silver and gold Judaica jewelry.

"Our philosophy is to create a contrast between the customary designs of the hai and Star of David symbols and the materials we're using that gives them a refreshing appeal," says Mamrud.

Eachof Ya'ara Netzer's pieces is one of a kind and uses different materialsto create a harmony between contrasting elements like delicate flowersand leather.

Theduo, who met while they were studying industrial design in Italy at thePolytechnico de Milano, put out their first collection of jewelry thisspring. "We were looking for an opportunity to work together, and wedecided to design jewelry that would make a statement without costing afortune."

The unique necklaces appeal to a wide range of ages, fromlittle girls to more mature women, and priced between NIS 90 and NIS108, they are an inexpensive addition to the summer wardrobe. You canfind them on the senseofashion.com Web site as well as in stores aroundthe country.

Yael Shtainberg

Six years ago, after finishing her BA in psychology andeducation, Shtainberg moved to an artists' colony in Old Jaffa.Inspired by the contrast between her surroundings and the uber-modernstreet fashion that young people are wearing, she decided to try herhand at making jewelry three years ago. Since then, the self-taughtdesigner has started to sell her work in stores around the country aswell as on Web sites, such as senseofashion.com and Etsy.

Working from home instead of teaching gives herthe ability to spend more time with her new baby and remain financiallyindependent. This summer's collection includes pastel flower rings andhair pins, gold and silver plated designs combined with vibrant beads,sparkling crystals and delicate pearls.

"Imake jewelry that I love," she says. "A lot of love goes into mydesigns, and I'm using high-quality materials. I use a lot of vintageand Victorian elements that have romantic, nostalgic undertones. I liketo combine classic designs with elements of color, and I also makejewelry for brides." Prices range from NIS 60 to NIS 170.


Ya'ara Netzer

Netzer always had a penchant for fashion. For as long as she canremember, working with different materials and focusing on the finedetails has been a favorite pastime. As a student at Shenkar College ofEngineering and Design in Tel Aviv, she started to try her hand atmaking jewelry and accessories for various projects. After graduationin 2008, she decided it was time to try an independent career.

Several months ago, she started to sell her first collection. Ahuge fan of leather because of its durability and flexibility, thissummer's accessories include headbands, belts and necklaces. "I use aspecial technique to print designs on the leather, and then I addSwarovsky crystals, beads, silver and gold plated chains and colorfulbeads," she says.

Each piece is one of a kind and uses different materials tocreate a harmony between contrasting elements, such as delicatefeminine flowers and tough leather. "I'm not interested in creatingthings that are trendy and go in and out of style," she explains. "I amcreating jewelry and accessories that are unique and unusual and willlast forever. Independent women who are sure of themselves and whatthey like are my target clients."

Prices range from NIS 50 to NIS 200 and you can find her workon the senseofashion.com Web site and at various markets around thecountry.